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MADA urges end to newspaper bans in West Bank, Gaza

Jan. 28, 2013 10:38 A.M. (Updated: Jan. 29, 2013 1:49 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian press freedom group on Monday called for Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza to lift bans on newspapers regarded as sympathetic to the rival party, as pledged in a 2011 reconciliation deal.

The reconciliation deal established a freedoms committee, which decided to end the bans as of Jan. 15, 2012, the Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) said.

A year later, West Bank newspapers still do not circulate in Gaza and vica versa, which the group notes contravenes Palestinian basic law.

"Journalists and the Palestinian people have been disappointed on several occasions at the failure of reconciliation attempts, despite repeated promises and frequent agreements," MADA said.

Center director Moussa Rimawi noted that the split between the Gaza and West Bank governments since 2007 has increased abuse of journalists, self-censorship, and a general decline in media freedoms.
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